Next step is the hem. At this point, the net underskirt is hand basted in place and will be removed to made hemming easier. Some sources advise a narrow hem for 4 ply silk crepe but in a skirt this luxurious I chose to use a horsehair interfaced 3 inch wide hem in the center front and two side front sections of the gown. The side back and center back sections were interfaced with bias strips of silk organza. The hem width tapered from 3 inches at the side seams to 1.5 inches at the center back. The narrower hem width allowed the fabric to be eased in along the curved edge of the train.
Now, with the gown completed, I hand sewed the net petticoat to the bottom of the corslet. Imagine wrestling all this to the sewing machine! There are times it’s just easier to do things by hand.
Now for the lace overblouse. I created a pattern by draping and manipulated the waistline darts into the bust dart and back side seam to avoid disrupting the lace pattern along the hem.
Here is a section of lace. The cat (NOT MINE, thank goodness), chewed one edge, but I was able to work around it.
Seam lines are traced with heavy cotton thread as a lighter weight thread pulls out of the lace too easily.
The buttons have been covered with 4 ply silk from dress scraps so they will match the gown perfectly.
The lace is backed with silk tulle and the two layers treated as one, just as when underlining.
After sewing the seams I trim all layers except one layer of tulle to 1/4 inch. Fold the raw edge of the tulle over and hand sew, binding the seam as you would do a Hong Kong finish.
Elastic looping finishes the back.
To finish the neck edge, I discovered two edges of the lace piece had hand appliqued trim. I carefully clipped the stitches and was left with a length of perfectly matching lace trim. This was simply hand appliqued back in place along the neckline.
Last item was the veil. Real silk tulle veils are luxurious and pricy but since the bride wanted a shorter length, it seemed a shame to stick a length of polyester net on her head. The edge of the veil would be finished with a narrow silk ribbon. Mokuba has exquisite ribbons and I found a shade of ivory which matched the gown. I had planned on attaching it using fine cotton thread and a fine double needle in the machine. Think again! The ribbon was so soft and the tulle so fine I had a balled up mess. Thank goodness it was on the test sample. Another reason to test, test, test your techniques. You never know when disaster will strike.
The only solution: hand sewing.
It actually went faster than anticipated and did allow me a great deal of control over the tension of the ribbon on the tulle. Working over a black surface made life easier also.
After the ribbon was sewn along each edge using 80 weight cotton thread, trim carefully along the ribbon edge.
The upper edge of the tulle was simply gathered onto a comb and stitched. An heirloom pin served as the headpiece.
View from the back, highlighting the luxurious drape of the heavy silk.